CHARLOTTE – South Charlotte will continue to host one of the most important non-major PGA Tour stops as Quail Hollow Club President Johnny Harris and others announced April 30 that the Wells Fargo Championship will return through at least 2024.
The 17th Wells Fargo Championship, which had a purse of $7.9 million, concluded May 5 when Max Homa took home the championship trophy after claiming a three-shot victory. The 2020 Wells Fargo Championship is again expected to occupy the first week of May when the tour schedule is released later this year.
There is one wrinkle in the new contract, however. Quail Hollow Club is hosting the 2021 Presidents Cup and that means the Wells Fargo Championship will make a one-time stop in the Washington D.C. area that spring.
“In 2003, Johnny Harris and the members of Quail Hollow Club, along with our company, had the desire to build one of the best tournaments in America and bring the best players in the world to Quail Hollow,” Wells Fargo Bank Charlotte regional president Kendall Alley said. “We have had, as you look at our champions, those players be here over the last 17 years. We are excited that this partnership has had great success. We look forward to the next five years.”
Since it first hosted a professional event in 1969, Quail Hollow has poured $22 million back into the course to make it one of the top venues on the PGA Tour.
“Not a penny from the tour events has gone anywhere but back into our facilities to try and make it the kind of place that the tournaments want to come to the tour wants to come to, and the best players in the world want to come to,” Harris said. “We have been fortunate to host the best players in the world and are looking forward to welcoming them back for years to come.”
Wells Fargo has 25,000 employees in the Charlotte metro region and Alley said sponsoring a PGA Tour event makes good business sense.
“The purpose of the sponsorship for Wells Fargo is about encouraging and exposing our brand, but also about taking care of our stakeholders, who are our communities, our customers and our team members,” Alley said. “And we have significant impact from each of those. From the branding standpoint, it certainly helps us build our business and get our name out there. And actually this, in my personal opinion, this is as good a week as Wells Fargo has for its brand and name. The Wells Fargo I know is represented very well by what we do right here at this tournament and we do it very well.”
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the Wells Fargo Championship is one of the players’ favorite stops on tour, citing the exceptional condition of Quail Hollow Club and the region’s support of the tournament. All the corporate hospitality areas again sold out this year, and the tournament has traditionally drawn big crowds.
“We’re proud of the fact that this showcases Charlotte as one of the great sports towns in our country and in the world,” Monahan said. “Life is all about impact, and our tournaments are all about impact. And the impact that we’ve made is absolutely remarkable, and it will keep growing now for another five years.
“From day one, this tournament has been so well supported by the fans of Charlotte that what this does is this sets a foundation through 2024. It allows the fans to prepare for what they’re going to be doing over the next five years.”
Heading into this year’s tournament, the Wells Fargo Championship had donated $22 million to local charities. Levine’s Children Hospital, The First Tee and Teach for America are the main beneficiaries of the tournament. Monahan said supporting local charities is a top goal of the PGA Tour, and that spirit of giving will continue over the next five years.
The TPC Potomac hosted the Quicken Loans Invitational in 2017 and 2018. Monahan said the course is well suited to host the Wells Fargo Championship in 2021.
“That is a course that we invested in significantly going back to 2008,” Monahan said.
Alley said the one-time visit to the Washington D.C. area will be good for Wells Fargo.
“We are excited about that opportunity,” Alley said. “It is a property that the tour knows well and is very successful, and D.C. is a wonderful market for Wells Fargo. We’re thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to transition the tournament that year. But in ’22, ’23 and ’24 we will bring it back home to Quail Hollow and we’re very excited about that opportunity.”
Quail Hollow Club hosted the 2017 PGA Championship and Charlotte city officials said the economic impact of that event was close to $100 million. The Presidents Cup could match that impact in the fall of 2020, and it might be a tough ticket to get. The Presidents Cup is a competition between Team USA and an International Team that represents the rest of the world, minus Europe.
“I think what you will see is you are going to have more international travelers coming from all over the world to be here to experience Charlotte than you might have in a given week in the Wells Fargo Championship,” Monahan said. “But, I don’t think you can fit more people out here. It’s going to have that same great energy. It’s a team event and it is unique, it’s different and it is not something this community has seen.
“The Presidents Cup itself just keeps getting better and better and better. Everyone around the world will be watching.”
The PGA Tour adjusted its schedule this year, moving the Players Championship from May to March and the PGA Championship from August to May. That means the Wells Fargo is sandwiched in between the Masters Tournament in April and the PGA in May, but Monahan said he doesn’t expect the changes to impact the Wells Fargo Championship.
“Given the prestige of this event, you’re going to continue to see the best players in the world play here certainly for the next five years, and we expect longer than that,” Monahan said.
Harris said Charlotte is also capable of hosting a women’s tournament if the LPGA ever decided to come to the Queen City.
“I think all you have to do is look down the road into Georgia and see what an experience the women had with the amateur championship down at Augusta to understand that the women’s golf is going to become more and more important to growing the game throughout the world,” Harris said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if you saw a tournament like that come to Charlotte in the future. I hope it happens, and we would be very supportive of it wherever it was played.”